ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–The North American Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources have jointly announced a new partnership in which LifeWay will assume day-to-day operations of World Changers and PowerPlant — NAMB’s longtime student mobilization initiatives.
The shift in responsibility for World Changers and PowerPlant from NAMB to LifeWay is scheduled for 2012, and will not affect the 2011 summer projects.
Under the partnership, announced Feb. 24, World Changers and PowerPlant will build on LifeWay’s existing student mobilization efforts through Centrifuge and M-fuge. However, while Centrifuge is geared more as a summer worship and Bible study camp, and M-Fuge is geared more toward a missions/camp experience, World Changers and PowerPlant have more proactive “hands-on” mission experiences — offering students opportunities to share the Gospel and participate in church planting.
“This partnership is going to make World Changers an option for even more Southern Baptist students who want to make a difference for Christ in the neediest areas of North America,” NAMB President Kevin Ezell said. “I am thrilled that NAMB and LifeWay can come together like this to make a good thing even better. This is the kind of cooperation Southern Baptists expect from their entities.”
World Changers has “a rich history at NAMB and the Brotherhood Commission before that,” Ezell said. “We’ve designed this partnership to build on that history. NAMB will stay very closely involved, and we are planning for World Changers to be a key component in our new ‘Send North America’ strategy to mobilize churches and individuals for evangelistic church planting.”
Ezell said combining the two SBC entities’ student mobilization ministries not only will give students in the SBC’s 45,000-plus churches more choice, but it also will eliminate redundancies, as well as increase efficiencies and economies of scale — especially in the areas of registration, marketing, summer staff recruiting and warehousing of materials.
LifeWay President Thom Rainer said the partnership complements the vision held by both entities to engage people at their place of need and share the love of Christ.
“Streamlining our ministry endeavors in this manner will only serve to advance our Kingdom effectiveness,” Rainer said. “Southern Baptists will see the productivity of both of these great outreach ministries escalate in the days ahead through this partnership.
“LifeWay is proud to come alongside NAMB is this manner and support the refinement of their vision to make greater impact on planting churches across North America,” Rainer added.
World Changers is a pre-packaged mission experience for students, originally under the auspices of the former SBC Brotherhood Commission and under NAMB starting in 1997. World Changers celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2010 and is gearing up for another year of ministry this summer.
World Changers provides students and adults with opportunities to meet the physical and spiritual needs of others, most often by replacing roofs and tackling other repairs for low-income homeowners. Volunteers donate a week of their summer working in conjunction with cities, churches and community agencies to provide renovations at no charge.
PowerPlant students gain real-world experience in church planting and evangelism. Participants learn church planting principles and evangelism skills each morning, then have a chance to engage personally through assigned ministry team activities in the afternoon and evening.
Under the NAMB/LifeWay partnership agreement on World Changers and PowerPlant:
— NAMB will retain ownership of the World Changers and PowerPlant brands and related website URLs.
— either entity may reconsider or renegotiate the terms at the conclusion of the five-year agreement.
— Several members of the World Changers and PowerPlant teams now at NAMB will become LifeWay employees, with LifeWay providing relocation to Nashville for NAMB employees willing to relocate.
— NAMB national missionaries who are part of the World Changers/PowerPlant team also will become LifeWay employees but will not have to relocate to Nashville.
“This is an important time for our ministry,” said John W. Bailey, NAMB’s team leader for World Changers and PowerPlant in Alpharetta, Ga. “We’re excited about what the future holds in partnership with LifeWay.
“This is going to be a good thing for our students,” said Bailey, who has worked with World Changers since 1998. “LifeWay has a vision for putting students on the mission field — just like we at NAMB and the Brotherhood Commission have been doing since 1990. I want our network of construction people, church planting people, youth ministers and churches — who’ve been with us for years — to realize that this will make World Changers even better in the future.”
Faith Whatley, LifeWay’s director of training, events and organizational development, said the addition of World Changers and PowerPlant “will further energize LifeWay’s student programs and ministry opportunities.” Approximately 53,000 students are served each summer through LifeWay’s FUGE camps.
“We have such a high respect for this ministry,” Whatley said. “Their team members are passionate about this work and they are devoted to it because of the countless life-changing experiences they have witnessed through the years. We are confident God will allow our efforts to expand even further as we see more students walking out in mission opportunities.”
Bailey noted that the vision is to have World Changers and PowerPlant projects in every one of the 25 key cities named in NAMB’s “Send North America” strategy.
“Our desire is to see the lives of students transformed on the frontlines of missions in North America. If we are to accomplish the challenge of the Great Commission, we’ll need to mobilize even more students through World Changers and PowerPlant,” Bailey said.
In 2011, World Changers will mobilize 21,000 student and adult volunteers to work in 85 cities on 96 projects across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. New project locations include Los Angeles, Gautier, La., and McComb, Miss.
PowerPlant projects are scheduled in 24 cities across the United States and in Vancouver and Winnipeg, Manitoba, between June 13 and July 30. First-time PowerPlant cities will be Boston, Washington, D.C. and Winnipeg.
Registration for 2011 World Changers and PowerPlant projects is still under way. The World Changers website is www.world-changers.net; PowerPlant’s is www.power-plant.net.
Mickey Noah writes for the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Russ Rankin writes for LifeWay Christian Resources.